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William Reed—a paid consultant for the American Tower Co.—claims that Ward 3 residents are preventing D.C. residents from enjoying “vital” new technology (The Mail, 1/5; “Unbending Reed,” 12/15/00). Nothing could be further from the truth.

Although Reed’s paid position is wholly consistent with the haze of smoke the tower company issues to mask the truth, Washington City Paper readers should know that the technology for high-definition television broadcasts is already in place and is being beamed out daily from Tenleytown, where the tower company’s ill-fated tower now stands like a monumental beacon built to poor corporate choices.

The fact of the matter is this: All of the major television stations, including Channels 4, 5, 7, and 9, are already capable of transmitting digitally from their current Tenleytown locations. And Channel 26 is currently broadcasting digitally from its Virginia site. Without question, Tenleytown bears a disproportionate burden of broadcast towers already, which, it should be noted, serve not only the District but also Maryland and Virginia. In other words, this is a regional issue, not a local one.

While tower company representatives hope to camouflage their true intentions—which is to erect what one industry expert describes as a “monster” tower that will be the largest telecommunications tower on the East Coast, capable of carrying up to 250 antennae, even larger than the colossal tower on the top of the World Trade Center in Manhattan—it has little to do with providing city residents with state-of-the-art digital technology. In fact, the digital industry, according to the Washington Post, may be a failing industry whose time will never come, to be replaced sooner rather than later by satellite technology.

One thing is certain: A tower that poses significant safety risks and possible health hazards, including the very real threat of falling ice as well as “significantly increased radiative activity” in the community and city from electromagnetic radiation, has no business—none whatsoever—being plunked down in the middle of a residential/small business area inches away from a heavily trafficked sidewalk and a busy secondary artery and within the immediate vicinity of, among others, Wilson High School, Alice Deal Junior High School, and Janney Elementary School, which are home to schoolchildren from across the city.

Stop the Tower Coalition